Old Llantrisant Hill
- v9 - "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness"
- God sometimes permits thorns to come into our lives in order to minister to us
- It may seem odd
- The ministry of the thorn has enable countless Christians to grow closer to God
- Paul's thorn
- In the flesh
- To perhaps find help in the hindrances
- What do we learn?
A Source of Pain
- Not a minor inconvenience
- A massive blow to his ministry
- Thorn (v7) - not a rose thorn but a spike or a stake
- Something that would have been used in torture
- Used in the extreme
- A kind of spiritual attack: some sin or particular temptation
- A physical problem:
- Gal 4:13 - he had "physical infirmity"
- Gal 4:15 - maybe an eye complaint
- Persecution by various opponents
- Not sufficient information to be categorically certain
- Paul identifies with infirmities, reproaches, in need, in persecutions and in distress
- A messenger of satan - a demon: some form of demonic attack (v7)
- People were directly attacking his gospel ministry and discrediting the gospel
- Paul thought the best thing was to completely remove it
- We might think the same thing
- Paul prayed 3 times - he prayed continuously that God would remove the thorn in his flesh
- God only spoke to him when he finished praying (v9)
- Sometimes we are so busy telling God to remove the problem that we don't hear Him speaking to us through the problem
A Word of Comfort
- A two fold word of comfort:
- Purpose - "lest I be exalted above measure" (x2) - v7
- Quote from Gordon MacDonald - God uses 'disruptive moments'
- He had an exalted experience of God 14 years ago - caught up into the Third Heaven
- He speaks about himself in the 3rd person
- He humbles himself in contrast to the 'supra-apostles'
- Explanation of the Third Heaven
- Compare with Enoch and Elijah
- He did not become proud and puffed up
- This thorn came into his life to humble him, to buffet him
- He learns how God can use broken people - earthen vessels
- This is his experience
- Provision - God makes provision in our sufficient: My grace is sufficient
- Illustrative Story of CH Spurgeon
- The infinite riches of God's grace
- Unlimited stores of grace
- "God's strength is made perfect in weakness"
- The same word when Christ on the cross says "it is finished"
- Something complete
- Example of King Uzziah
A Means of Blessing
- Paul's weakness became his strength
- Has this not been our experience?
- On the mountain tops - our hearts often go cold, in the valleys - we are often brought to our knees before God
- God will use the thorns to make us more effective in His service
- Paul boasts in his infirmities because he is strong in Christ
- In his weakness he sees God strength
- He realises that this thorn is actually a blessing
- Example of Jacob & Elijah
- Illustration from Chuck Swindall